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By Diego Oré and Sarah Marsh
| SANTIAGO, Cuba

SANTIAGO, Cuba President Raul Castro led tens of thousands of Cubans on Saturday in a pledge to defend the socialist legacy of his brother Fidel Castro, who died last week aged 90 and will be interred in the city where they launched the Cuban Revolution.

But Fidel Castro’s image will not be immortalized with statues nor will public places be named after him, Raul Castro said, in keeping with older brother’s wishes.

“This is the unconquered Fidel who calls us with his example,” the president, dressed in his four-star general’s uniform, told a crowd that had burst into chants of “I am Fidel.”

“Yes, we will overcome any obstacle, turmoil or threat in the building of socialism in Cuba,” said Castro, 85, in a speech before Santiago’s packed central plaza.

Raul Castro was joined on the stage by leftist foreign dignitaries and the Cuban political leadership to bid farewell to the man known to most Cubans as “El Comandante” – the commander – or simply “Fidel.”

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His ashes will be entombed near the remains of Cuba’s independence hero Jose Marti in a cemetery in the eastern city.

Castro began his revolution on July 26, 1953, with a failed assault on the Moncada barracks in Santiago. He went on to build a Soviet-sponsored Communist state 90 miles (145 km) from the United States and survived a half century of U.S. attempts to topple or kill him.

Drawn in a trailer behind an olive green army jeep, Castro’s ashes have made a 600-mile (1,000-km) journey in which hundreds of thousands of Cubans have lined up on roadsides and gathered in plazas for a final tribute.

“We are here supporting the revolution,” said Ansel Hechavarria, 61, a mechanic hoisting a large Cuban flag. “The loss of El Comandante does not mean we will go stagnant. We are going to continue his legacy.”

(Additional reporting by Nelson Acosta; Writing by Daniel Trotta and Frank Jack Daniel; Editing by Tom Brown)

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